2016 OnPoint Prize Educator of the Year (K-8), Emily Ferguson, has called Portland her home since 2002 when she put her cats in the car drove here from the Appalachian Mountains. She loves to sing and play guitar and is terrible at Bananagrams but will play it anytime with anyone. The first word she worked to learn to spell was for revenge: her best friend, a year older than her, chided her for not being able to spell ‘elephant’ one day, so that night, distraught by embarrassment but resolved to make a glorious comeback the next day, she enlisted her dad to help. “Elephant?!” he cried. “That’s for amateurs! Let’s learn vegetable!” And so she did and was redeemed in the eyes of Allison the next day (who had actually forgotten that the whole thing had happened at all). Other proud moments in her life of spelling include mastering ‘vacuum,’ ‘broccoli,’ and ‘onomatopoeia’–and getting her middle school students to do the same each year. She is currently engaged in a fierce battle with ‘hors d’oeuvres,’ and is losing faith that she’ll ever win that war.
Will her years of struggle help her school the competition? Get your tickets to the 2017 Celebrity Spelling Bee and find out!